During the Reagan administration, after the terrible attempted assassination, the Brady Bill was passed into law. The NRA fought hard to block it, but with national sensitivities what they were at the time, it passed. President Reagan called it an "enforcement mechanism" that "can't help but prevent thousands of illegal gun purchases."
Part of the bill was the requirement that prospective gun buyers should submit to a background check, which would ensure they were filling in the forms accurately as far as felony convictions and other prohibitive marks on their record. Before this, non-qualified persons simply lied on the form.
From the beginning the bill included the proviso that after the background check is completed and no disqualifying record is found, "all records of the system relating to the person or the transfer are destroyed." This was a concession to the gun lobby pressure that no hint of gun registration should result. The only problem was there was no specification as to exactly when the records should be destroyed.
During the Clinton administration it was decided that the records of these background checks should be kept for six months, consistent with the FBI recommendation. The NRA mobilized itself to fight against such rcord-keeping based on the concern that it would create a type of registry of gun owners. The problem with that according to them is such a registry could eventually be used for gun confiscation. The NRA demanded immediate destruction of all background records. Their argument was rejected in court.
A compromise was arranged whereby the background check information would be maintained for 90 days, instead of the full six months allowed by law. But even that wasn't good enough for the NRA, who under the Bush administration lobbied to have the records destroyed "within twenty-four hours," supposedly for "privacy concerns."
The result of these efforts on the part of the NRA is dasastrous. All because of their paranoid conviction that the government will eventually use these records to take their guns away, they have succeeded in manipulating the system and weakening good laws. We've talked about a number of cases lately which, had the background check information been available, might have been detected much earlier - the Mexican lady in Texas, and the North Dakota students, to name just two.
Not only are frequent buyers of guns going undetected because of this, but crooked gun dealers who aid criminals and straw buyers are nearly impossible to detect. The results are more murder, more bloodshed, all because the NRA, working on behalf of their members, is so concerned about privacy. The baleful results are incalculable.
I feel this is one of the worst, most blatant distortions of the national gun policy. I say anyone who supports the NRA, anyone who approves of these lobbying tactics that end up costing lives, must share in the responsibility for the gun violence in America. This guilt trickles down to every single legitimate gun owner, unless he has to good sense to distance himself from these dirty politics.
(Quotes taken from Lethal Logic by Dennis A. Henigan, pp 151, 152)
What's your opinion? I'd really like to know.
Only the NICs records are destroyed after 24 hours. Dealers hard copy records are kept for 20 years.ReplyDelete
I wonder who you think was responsible for "gun violence" before the NRA was founded?
The retaining / destroying of records occurs AFTER THE CHECK HAS TAKEN PLACE.ReplyDelete
It is a privacy matter and has NO BEARING whatsoever on whether or not a potential purchaser passes the background check.
Of course I've explained this to you on several occasions Mike, yet you continue to peddle your crap on this blog.
Please Mike, I want you to explain to me how the retaining of records has any impact on what happens during the sale.
What is the limit on the number of guns someone should be allowed to buy be in a particular time period?ReplyDelete
If I remember the North Dakota students correctly, they were violating other purchase laws, and must have been using false IDs. How would longer retention of records stop them? Do we get fingerprinted and a retinal scan to buy a gun?
Rather than worrying about retention periods and such, why don't we start investigating and arresting people who fail the damn check? If we aren't making a good-faith attempt to enforce that part of the law, what is the real purpose for gathering all this data?
If the goal is fighting crime rather than controlling the citizenry, shouldn't we focus first on the criminals?
The Brady law did not come about during the Reagan administration. It came two administrations later under Clinton. I also don't think you understand the Brady Background check.ReplyDelete
Please tell us exactly how keeping the NICS check for 90 days or 6 months as a form of defacto registration could that have stopped either of the drug smugglers you mention? Do you think there is someone in West Virginia that would look at every NICS check and say "oh yeah, I remember her"? Since there is no Federal restriction of how many guns you can buy, how would it matter how many NICS check someone had done. Further, a NICS check is not an indication that a gun was actually purchased. One can only assume that the sale went through. The actual serial number of a firearm is not recorded on the NICS check. Further, you could buy a dozen guns with only one NICS check. There is no limit to how many you may purchase.
All the Brady Bill NICS check does is run a background check. All records as to what gun was sold to whom is recorded in the dealer's records. If the NICS checks were actually held for 6 months, the only thing you could derive from that was that there were background checks made.
You are way off in thinking that a simple background check would stop a criminal bent on committing crimes.
"I feel this is one of the worst, most blatant distortions of the national gun policy. I say anyone who supports the NRA, anyone who approves of these lobbying tactics that end up costing lives, must share in the responsibility for the gun violence in America. This guilt trickles down to every single legitimate gun owner, unless he has to good sense to distance himself from these dirty politics."
No, I'll blame the criminal for committing a crime every time.
FatWhiteMan covered most of it already, but you're lack of basic knowledge about gun laws is fantastic considering this issue is supposedly of importance for you. But then again, when your primary sources are The Gun Guys, VPC, and the Brady Campaign what should we expect?ReplyDelete
One other thing on the NICS check. Some states issue permits (whether it be a purchase permit or carry permit), which meet all of the wickets for the NICS check (since that is part of the permit process). When one of these persons goes to purchase a firearm, the 4473 form is filled out, but instead of a background check being done (i.e. calling the NICS system), the permit number is recorded and no further background check is done. Because they already passed the background check. I'm am sure you are now going to say that this is a miscarriage of justice and thousands of criminals are getting weapons through this loophole.
Could they have criminal intent after having the background check? Sure (they could have it before, but if they hadn't committed a prohibited action, they would still pass the check). But we don't punish people for what they MAY do. Case in point, most states with the death penalty require you to have committed homicide or been an accessory to that crime. You can be convicted of conspiracy to commit murder every day of the week and never get the death penalty, because you HAVEN'T commited murder.
Criminals are responsible for their actions. It doesn't matter if they are murderers, rapists, burglars, kiddie porn pedallers, or check kiters.
You're mistaken about the law. The controlling law in this area is 18 U.S.C. 922(t)(2) which says:ReplyDelete
(2) If receipt of a firearm would not violate subsection (g) or (n) or State law, the system shall—
(A) assign a unique identification number to the transfer;
(B) provide the licensee with the number; and
(C) destroy all records of the system with respect to the call (other than the identifying number and the date the number was assigned) and all records of the system relating to the person or the transfer.
So they are required by law to destroy any identifying information regarding the transaction once the transaction is approved. The DOJ, in keeping any record was breaking the law. There was never any provision in the law that allowed records to be kept, except for transaction identifying information.
There's good reason for not allowing this, but others have stated it better than I. Here's what Condie Rice said about registration:
During the bombings of the summer of 1963, her father and other neighborhood men guarded the streets at night to keep white vigilantes at bay. Rice said her staunch defense of gun rights comes from those days. She has argued that if the guns her father and neighbors carried had been registered, they could have been confiscated by the authorities, leaving the black community defenseless.
That's why it's none of the government's business who does and doesn't have guns. For the purposes of investigation, police can trace to the last legal owner of a gun given a serial number, but they cannot and should not be able to pull up a database and find out what guns any individual owns, because of the reason stated above.
Just because things between the people and their government are relatively peachy now, doesn't mean it'll always be that way. I think it's hard to argue that governments of the South wouldn't have disarmed blacks if they could, and I wouldn't ever suggest that some other unpopular minority, say, Muslims, couldn't be victim to the same kind of mass hysteria and hatred.
FWM said, "No, I'll blame the criminal for committing a crime every time."ReplyDelete
This is the common response I hear from many pro-gun guys. But you guys also say that gun control laws don't work because the criminals won't obey them.
What I say is none of this requires criminals to comply. These initiatives require only that the law abiding comply which would leave the criminals out in the cold without a gun, in many cases.
For example, let's say at the national level a database is kept of all requests for background checks. The IT guys could write a simple program which would red-flag frequent request coming in for the same person. An investigator could study the data and contact the local law enforcement people if appropriate.
This kind of record-keeping might also be useful in identifying that 1% of gun dealers who are supplying 50% of the illegal guns.
Why would you resist something like this? Do you really fear gun confiscation?
"The IT guys could write a simple program which would red-flag frequent request coming in for the same person."ReplyDelete
What would determine what is "frequent"? How many background checks are too many? Are you also proposing a law to limit the number of firearms purchases one could make?
Sebastian said, "You're mistaken about the law."ReplyDelete
What's the "mistaken" part? I thought I said the law required destroying the records but that it didn't specify when. After Bush got in, the NRA was able to get that specification.
The Condie Rice story is a great one for the gun-rights crowd.
But, on the other side, when a little old Mexican lady is submitted for 2 or 5 or 10 background checks, and with a couple phone calls it could be determined she's buying assault rifles each time, I'd say we need that data base to stop her as soon as possible.
How many? what is the acceptable number of firearms a person should be allowed to buy?
You've ducked this question over and over again. Obviously you know how many because you keep saying that this woman bought too many too quickly and should have been stopped.
So, how many?
So your little old lady made (in your opinion) too many LEGAL purchases?ReplyDelete
So what? You want to prohibit her from buying what she may legally own even though she's not committed a crime.
I can't think of anything more at odds with American values than that.
Oh, and please, explain to me how a database is going to stop her from making purchases that are completely legal. I can't wait to hear your justification for that.
Mike W. said, "So what? You want to prohibit her from buying what she may legally own even though she's not committed a crime.ReplyDelete
I can't think of anything more at odds with American values than that."
But she did commit a crime, Mike. She committed a series of them. A national database could red-flag people like her, local law enforcement could be alerted to investigate. If they found that she owns 27 AR-15, all legitimate, fine. But if they find that she was a straw buyer, which in fact she turned out to be, they could stop her sooner.
What could possibly be wrong with that?
Why won't you answer a simple question of how many?
You seem to think that 27 or 28 firearms is too many for a person to purchase without their home being searched.
So, how many firearms should a person be 'allowed' to purchase before they have to explain themselves to the government?
I don't know how many, Bob.ReplyDelete
If you can't say how many firearms a person can buy, then how can you do this:
The IT guys could write a simple program which would red-flag frequent request coming in for the same person
What is too frequent? One a month? that is 12 firearms a year? Is that too many?
You see the problem, you or people like you want to tell others what they can and can't do with their money?
What gives you the right to decide how I spend my money?
You say it is simple to write a program, but can't answer how many firearms a person "should" be able to purchase.
Let's ask this since you are willing to restrict people's rights:
How many blog posts should a person be able to publish?
I don't know how many, Bob.ReplyDelete
I call BS. You may not know the exact number, but you've got an idea of range--you have pointed to several cases as examples of "too many", setting an upper bound at least.
You just don't want to be pinned down.
Sorry but that's not BS. What's BS is pretending that naming the exact number which indicates the need to investigate is necessary to discuss the theory. That's what Bob's been doing, and now Sevesteen has picked it up.ReplyDelete
The FBI or ATF men who look at this data every day would be the ones to determine the number, not me. They would look at the fluctuations and the averages and from that decide where the red flags should be raised.
But you guys say these crime-fighters should not even be able to see the data. If they could look at the trends and movements on a national level, according to you guys they wouldn't use the information for crime intervention but rather for gun confiscation.
That's what we're talking about, not my pinning myself down to name a number.
according to you guys they wouldn't use the information for crime intervention but rather for gun confiscation.ReplyDelete
The fraction of "crime guns" diverted by serial straw purchases detectable by this sort of system is not high enough to make it worth the time required to investigate and separate the criminals from the collectors. That is completely separate from concerns about requiring registration of legally owned guns.
There is tremendous potential for abuse in a system like this. Look at the record of Form 4473 and the NICS check. Hardly any investigation of people who lie on the NICS form, but plenty of harassment of dealers who don't catch inconsequential typos. Paperwork is more important than actual criminals trying to buy guns, or at least easier and safer to persecute.
What would be the percentage of "flow" attributable to serial straw purchases that would be low enough to change your mind on this?
"The FBI or ATF men who look at this data every day would be the ones to determine the number, not me."ReplyDelete
Oh boy! How Awesome! Absolutely no potential for abuse of power there huh? That just makes me feel so warm & fuzzy....
Funny how you're so trusting of authority when it suits your statist agenda eh MikeB?